3 January 2012

How to Increase CPU’s Level2 Cache in Windows

As you know Central Processing Unit (CPU) contains a part that called Level2 Cache or L2 Cache that saves data of current executed applications in our system. Before I continue with L2 Cache let me give you a quick brief about CPU cache.

A CPU cache is a cache that central processing unit used it to reduce the average time to access memory. Physically it is a memory that stores copies of the data from the most commonly used main memory (RAM) location. The cache is smaller and faster (high speed) in compare with computer main memory. CPU send request for data to main memory and then it get the data through memory bus. To increase the speed of the process, it uses cache to stores data that frequently used in RAM.

CPU needs data for manipulation and produce output for user. These days CPU’s clock cycle is much faster than main memory, so a CPU has to wait for memory to fulfill its request for data and this issue results to slow down the processing. For solving this problem, central processing unit uses cache as an alternative.

Most hard drives and components used one level cache system. CPU’s use 2 Level cache system and new modern CPU’s use 3 Level cache systems. L1 cache is very fast memory but L2 cache is slower and bigger and compare to L1 cache, it is cheaper. L3 cache is also slower, bigger and cheaper than L2. L1 usually is located on CPU itself and L2 cache is an external cache that commonly found near the CPU on the Motherboard. L2 has more amount of memory than L1 and the new microprocessors use L3 cache that even has lager memory than L2.

When you run software, game or any other application, the main data for execution the program will be store in L2 Cache and next time when you run the same application, you will see it executed faster. The reason is that the basic information needed to run the file, in the time you run the program for the first time has stored in L2 Cache and this time, it runs faster. I plan to introduce you a simple trick that you can use it to utilize the maximum ability of L2 Cache and speed up your system.

During installation of Windows, it checks your system’s CPU to find the amount of L2 Cache. For example if it is equal to 1024 KB then Windows allocate the same amount of memory. But sometimes Windows does not able to recognize the exact amount of L2 Cache and in that case it consider the default value “0” (i.e., 256 KB) for L2 (this happens mostly during installation of Windows XP). In this mode, Windows uses only 256 KB of L2 Cache. While your system L2 Cache may be much more than this limit.

Step 1
The first step is to find the true amount of L2 Cache. The easiest way is to use a free software that called CPU-Z. For download this small software, follow the below link:

After the download, unzip the file and install the program. Run the software then you will see window information screen. In front of the Level 2, you can find your system CPU L2 Cache.

Step 2
In the second step, you should find out the amount that Windows uses for L2 Cache. For this, open the Notepad and copy and paste the exact code below:

Save the file with extension .vbs and name it with your desired name (for example CSArchive.Net). Now run the file. OK the first window and in second window view the L2 Cache amount in Kilo Bite. This value is the value that Windows already has defined for you. If this value is exactly same as the value obtained by CPU-Z, then everything is perfect and no longer you need to use this trick. But if the value obtained is less than the amount shown in CPU-Z then continue with rest of the article.

Step 3
Now is time to define the actual L2 Cache for Windows. From the Start menu go to Run and type regedit and press the Enter to open the Windows registry environment. Go to this path:

Step 4
In the right of the window you can see the optionSecondLevelDataCache

Double-click on it and enter the following values:

You must type the exact size (or less) for L2 Cache that was obtained by CPU-Z.

If the value of Level 2 displayed in CPU-Z is 256 or less, enter the number “0” in the registry key.

If it is 512, enter 200

If it is 1024, enter 400

If it is 2048, enter 800

If it is 4096, enter 1600

If it is 8192, enter 3200

And so on.

Step 5
After entering the key, OK the window and exit from the registry editor. Restart the system to apply the setting. Then run the vbs file that you have made before and check the L2 Cache value again.

Note. Do not enter values more than the actual amount of your system L2 Cache. It may damage your system. It is better to backup the system registry before you change anything.